Best Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
This vegan lentil shepherd’s pie features a hearty mushroom and lentil filling topped with creamy mashed potatoes.
This recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd, leftovers keeps well in the fridge and freezer and is ready to enjoy in 1 hour.
About the Recipe
Lentil shepherd’s pie offers a delicious plant-based twist on traditional cottage pie, sure to please the whole family. Shepherd’s pie is the ultimate comfort food and a wonderful vegetarian main dish to enjoy as a holiday entree or delicious meal any time of year.
If you’ve never tried making shepherd’s pie, fear not; the process may seem complicated, but it’s surprisingly simple and uses simple, everyday ingredients.
You’ll begin by cooking the lentils until tender, then boiling and mashing the potatoes, and preparing the rest of the vegetables for the filling.
The savory lentil mixture and creamy mashed potatoes are layered in a dish and baked until you have a gravy-like filling with rich flavors topped with lightly browned, crisp-on-top creamy mashed potatoes.
This dish makes an ideal addition to your holiday table, especially if you have vegan or vegetarian guests. Packed with fiber and protein from the lentils, it offers a healthy alternative to the traditional ground beef version.
- Mushrooms: You can use white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, portobello or a mixture of mushrooms.
- Fresh Herbs: The recipe calls for fresh thyme and rosemary but if you only have dried herbs available you can use 1 tsp each instead of the fresh herbs.
- Peas and Corn: You can use frozen peas and corn or drained and rinsed canned peas or corn.
- Lentils: This recipe is for green or brown lentils. Red lentils are not recommended.
- Tamari: Substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos. You can also add a touch of vegan worcestershire sauce for extra depth of flavor.
- All Purpose Flour: Substitute whole-wheat flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Potatoes: Use yellow-fleshed potatoes like Yukon Gold potatoes.
- Almond Milk: Substitue any unsweetened plant-based milk.
The complete list of ingredients with measurements is located in the recipe card below.
- Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie: Use sweet potato instead of potato, following the recipe as written otherwise.
- Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie: Use peeled and cubed butternut squash instead potato. You can also do half butternut squash and half potato.
- Low-Carb Option: You can use this mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes for the topping.
- Oil-Free Option: Omit the oil from the mashed potatoes and use water or vegetable broth to saute the veggies.
- Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free all purpose flour instead of wheat flour.
- Walnuts: You can add 1/2 cup cup finely chopped walnuts when you add the mushrooms for more texture in the lentil filling, like in this vegan taco salad.
- Cheese: For a cheesy topping, add up to 1 cup vegan grated cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes.
- Additional Veggies: Other veggies that can be added to the filling are diced carrots, green beans, cauliflower or spinach.
Step 1. Place the dried lentils in a medium pot on the stovetop with 3 cups of water. Cover and cook for 15 minutes at a light simmer until the lentils are tender. Drain off any excess water and set aside.
Step 2. Add the peeled, chopped potatoes to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
Drain, add back in the pot and add the milk, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Use a masher or immersion blender to mash into a smooth texture.
Step 3: Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic, celery and fresh herbs to a large sauce pan or dutch oven on the stovetop with either 2 tbsp olive oil, broth or water.
Step 4: Add the flour and mix well to coat the veggies.
Step 5: Add the tomato paste, tamari and vegetable broth, stir well and bring to a simmer.
Step 6: Add the cooked lentils, peas and corn, mix and cook about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
Step 7: Add the lentil and vegetable mixture to a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
Step 8: Spread the mashed potatoes over the lentils then place the dish on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes uncovered. Let cool briefly and serve.
Shepherd’s pie is quite hearty so it can definitely stand on its own without any side dishes.
Otherwise, serve as a vegetarian main dish alongside holiday sides like brussels sprouts and stuffing or pair with a light salad, steamed vegetables or a dinner roll.
It’s good with a some vegan mushroom gravy too!
Yes. Shepherd’s pie can be frozen before or after baking. If you’re assembling and freezing to bake later, cover well with foil and freeze for up to 2 months and bake from frozen. If it’s cooked and frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat in the microwave or oven.
You can! For a variation on this dish, swap the potatoes for sweet potato. The method is the same.
Fridge: Let cool then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezer: Let cool then store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Can be stored before or after baking.
Reheating: If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated to your preference.
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This vegan lentil shepherd’s pie is the ultimate plant-based comfort food. Enjoy this hearty main dish during the holidays or anytime of year for a filling and satisfying meal.
For the Lentil Filling
- 3 cups finely chopped white or crimini mushrooms (225 g approx.)
- 1 medium onion, diced (175 g, 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed or grated (15 g)
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped (5 g) or 1 tsp dry
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (5 g) or 1 tsp dry
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup frozen peas (130 g)
- 1 cup frozen corn (130 g)
- 3 stalks celery chopped (150 g approx. 2 cup)
- 1 cup dry brown lentils (225 g or 2 cups cooked)
- 1/4 cup tamari (60 ml)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (28 g)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
For the Potato Topping
- Cook Lentils: In a medium pot place 1 cup of dried lentils with 3 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat until lentils are tender, once cooked drain off the water and reserve the lentils for later.
- Cook Potatoes: Put peeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
- Mash Potatoes: Once cooked, drain and place the potatoes back in the pot. Add the olive oil, milk, salt and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth in texture.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Saute Veggies and Herbs: Over medium heat, saute the chopped mushrooms, onions, garlic, celery, and fresh herbs until soft with 1 tbsp olive oil for roughly about 2-3 minutes.
- Add Flour: Once the vegetables are softened, sprinkle 2 tbsp of all purpose flour and stir together.
- Add Tomato Paste and Liquids: Add the tomato paste, tamari and vegetable stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Add Lentils, Corn and Peas: Mix in the cooked lentils along with the corn and peas. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minnutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Layer in Baking Dish: Place lentil mixture into a 9x13in baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Smooth until you have an even layer of mashed potatoes covering the lentils.
- Bake: Place the dish on a baking tray (prevents a mess in case of any spillage) and bake uncovered for 25-30 mins at 350 degrees F. Optional: broil for 1-2 minutes at the end to achieve more browning and crispiness on top.
- Cool Briefly: Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken.
Storing: Let cool then store in a sealed container for up to 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated to your preference.
- Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
- Calories: 403
- Fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 72 g
- Protein: 13 g
Keywords: lentil shepherds pie, vegan shepherds pie